20 Gallon Tank Increasing KH/GH without increasing PH

Aquandry

Hi all,

I'm starting a 20 gallon planted tank and am new to the hobby. So far I do not have anything in the tank and I'm just starting a fishless cycle (I'll be adding plants this week once they arrive). I am planning a community tank with either Tetras or Danios, a few Corys, maybe a Gourami.. and probably a nerite snail for good measure. Right now I have a soil substrate capped with aquarium sand, a few dragon rocks, and a small piece of driftwood as my hardscape.

My water is extremely soft (seems to fall between 1 and 2 degrees of both KH and GH)... but my PH is already at 7.2. I've read that I could increase KH/GH by adding crushed coral, limestone, or aragonite, but that doing so also increases PH.
  • Am I correct that I need to increase KH/GH?
  • Am I correct that my PH is fine but should not be increased?
  • Does anyone have a suggestion?
Thanks in advance!
 

The2dCour

My water is almost exactly the same, no problems with using it from the tap for my danios or corydoras or mystery snails.
One problem you may run in to is the pH drops faster due to the KH/GH being low, you have to keep up more frequent smaller water changes. If you want to increase your KH/GH but not tamper with pH too much you can add the crushed coral (it has more of an effect in the filter than substrate) it may raise your pH but not too much. You can also get buffers like equilibrium to add GH/KH but you'd have to add it to every water change.
 
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86 ssinit

My gh and kh are similar to yours. Your ph is fine. Are these the results from the fish tank or from the tap? Do both. Your new to the hobby so don’t try to much. Ph is best when it stays the same. 7.2 is great for almost all fish. Your gh/kh will work for many fish. Do you have test kits?
Being a beginner you’ve already made it a little harder by adding soil to your tank. Soil when new may raise ammonia in your tank. Being your doing a fishless cycle have you planned for this?
 
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Chanyi

Your water is perfect for a planted tank. I would gH boost 4 degrees using CaSO4 and MgSO4 (3 degrees from CaSO4 and 1 degree from MgSO4).

350mg CaSO4 / gallon = 3 degrees GH
170mg MgSO4 / gallon = 1 degree GH

Your pH is perfect, your KH is perfect, your gH needs a little boosting because plants / snails need Ca and Mg.
 
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jake37

CaSO4 is calcium sulfate - not sure of the cheapest place to buy this but i know that folks like nilocg.com sell it.
MgSO4 (magnesium) can be easily purchased as epsom salt but you have to make sure it has no additives. Whole foods 365 brand (if it is still available) is an example of pure epsom salt.

Perhaps Chanyi can suggest dosage per gallon that will raise the gh the appropriate amount.

Your water is perfect for a planted tank. I would gH boost 4 degrees using CaSO4 and MgSO4 (3 degrees from CaSO4 and 1 degree from MgSO4).

350mg CaSO4 / gallon = 3 degrees GH
170mg MgSO4 / gallon = 1 degree GH

Your pH is perfect, your KH is perfect, your gH needs a little boosting because plants / snails need Ca and Mg.
 
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Chanyi

Perhaps Chanyi can suggest dosage per gallon that will raise the gh the appropriate amount.


I already did:

Your water is perfect for a planted tank. I would gH boost 4 degrees using CaSO4 and MgSO4 (3 degrees from CaSO4 and 1 degree from MgSO4).

350mg CaSO4 / gallon = 3 degrees GH
170mg MgSO4 / gallon = 1 degree GH

Your pH is perfect, your KH is perfect, your gH needs a little boosting because plants / snails need Ca and Mg.
 
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Aquandry

Thank you, Chanyi !

Curious if I could get away with something like Seachem Equilabrium? It looks like that seems to have similar/the same ingredients as you mention (with a couple others). If it would be good enough, I might go that route. But if it is much better to go with the direct CASO4 and MgSO4 (or, obviously, if the Seachem do harm in my situation), I will do that.
 
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Chanyi

Thank you, Chanyi !

Curious if I could get away with something like Seachem Equilabrium? It looks like that seems to have similar/the same ingredients as you mention (with a couple others). If it would be good enough, I might go that route. But if it is much better to go with the direct CASO4 and MgSO4 (or, obviously, if the Seachem do harm in my situation), I will do that.

Equilibrium contains absurd amounts of Potassium. If you needed to boost GH by one or two degrees, it's fine, but boosting it by 4 degrees and you are unnecessarily adding a lot of potassium / TDS.

Not to mention you would be "stuck" with what Seachem thinks is the best Ca:Mg ratio.

CaSO4 and MgSO4 is the cheapest long term option, and provides what you need with very little "other" ingredients. You also have control over the Ca:Mg ratio.
 
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The2dCour

Thank you, Chanyi !

Curious if I could get away with something like Seachem Equilabrium? It looks like that seems to have similar/the same ingredients as you mention (with a couple others). If it would be good enough, I might go that route. But if it is much better to go with the direct CASO4 and MgSO4 (or, obviously, if the Seachem do harm in my situation), I will do that.

I recently used this product to get my endler tanks GH/KH up, it works fine and since you are still fishless it wont harm anything. Since I had fish I added mine slowly so the hardness didn't jump up.
 
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jake37

Chanyi suggestions are based around optimal plant growth and long term maint. If the intention is not to focus on plants then i would not adjust gh/kh. If there is a desire for good plant growth then long term (every time you do a water change) you will want to adjust the gh and you might as well as go the cheapest route which is to buy the minerals. Most people do a 20-40% water change once every week or two.

I recently used this product to get my endler tanks GH/KH up, it works fine and since you are still fishless it wont harm anything. Since I had fish I added mine slowly so the hardness didn't jump up.
 
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